This week, our Frankfurt auto show preview. Volkswagen finds the only direction is up, Land Rover ends tea time to update a 25 year old model, and Yo-Auto redesigns the car door.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) EPISODE 232 SHOW NOTES
In 2015, the Defender will be 25 years old, so Land Rover designers are putting down their tea and getting to work on an update. The company will show a concept for a new Defender model at the 2011 Frankfurt auto show. With only four years until the production version is due, the blokes at Land Rover will barely have time for a biscuit.
The DC100 concept appears as a two-door, with rounded edges and grille that lose the welded sheet-metal hard edges of the current model. The wheels chosen for the concept look designed to appeal to first-world consumers rather than military buyers from countries created last week.
But Land Rover's long timeline for the Defender update shows a very careful approach. If the public derides this one, there is still plenty of space on the drawing board. And Land Rover says it will pay close attention to customer input as it finalizes the design. … Read more
Japanese plastic-model-kit company Tamiya was looking to make a splash in the Vietnamese market, so it decided to drum up some excitement with a series of ads that portray famous conspiracy theories in plastic-model-kit form.
For us techies, the moon landing is particularly compelling. It comes complete with Neil Armstrong, a director's chair, the lunar module, movie lights, and a big sack of money.
The Roswell UFO crash kit even has a partially dissected pig. I don't know why the pig is included. Maybe someone with more UFO conspiracy knowledge can fill me in. … Read more
Typically, cost is the driving concern when choosing one renewable energy technology over another. But a pair of studies that consider land use give the edge to niche forms of solar and wind power generation.
Caltech researcher John Dabiri, a professor of aeronautics and bioengineering, this week presented results of a test that found that vertical-axis wind turbines have the potential to generate more power per square meter than the propeller-like, three-blade wind turbines. The key is that vertical-axis turbines can be placed close together without creating the type of wind disturbances that would sap performance of traditional turbines.
Dabiri … Read more
The Land Rover Defender has been a mainstay for African safaris, but concern over the carbon dioxide emissions from their 2.4-liter diesel engines spawned the development of the first electrically powered Defender. Battery producer Axeon fitted a Defender with an electric drive unit and will show the concept at a tourism convention in South Africa.
The 28.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack gives the Defender a range of about 60 miles, three times further than a typical game drive. Axeon touts the reduction in emissions, going from the diesel Defender's 295 grams per kilometer to zero, and the electric Defender's quiet operation, allowing it to get closer to animals in game parks.
The battery pack has been placed in the engine compartment, maintaining the Defender's ground clearance and fording depth.
The next step: electric vehicle charging stations in safari camps. … Read more
RealVNC announced at the BlackBerry World Conference this week that it will be supplying Jaguar and Land Rover with a smartphone-integrated infotainment system.
RealVNC demonstrated the Connect and View system using a BlackBerry smartphone connected to a RealVNC Connect and View infotainment system connected to a BlackBerry smartphone in a Jaguar XJ head unit. When linked with a BlackBerry device, Connect and View uses Terminal Mode to replicate music and navigation applications on the car's in-dash screen.
There's a growing conflict stemming from the push for more renewable energy and the environmental impact of large-scale wind and solar plants. But an analysis from the Nature Conservancy finds that a big boost in wind doesn't have to negatively impact wildlife.
The conservation group today released a study that argues for a policy to prioritize wind power development on "disturbed land" to avoid threatening wildlife and still ramp up wind generation significantly.
Looking at land-use data across the lower 48 states shows that there is sufficient land in locations to meet the Department of Energy'… Read more
It is easy to look at the 2011 Land Rover LR4 and see a big dumb SUV. Its boxy form and imposing presence drew sneers and rolled eyes as we made our way around the streets of San Francisco, where the Prius reigns supreme. However, unlike most gas-guzzling poseur utility vehicles, the Rover is actually a very capable SUV with an advanced Terrain Management system that allowed the massive SUV to climb loose dirt hills like a mountain goat and pull itself through slick mud holes like it was fitted with treads. All the while, the LR4 isolates its driver … Read more
Steam-powered engines have been around for about 300 years, but they've never been known for amazing speeds. Now, a company in Florida and a streamliner designer from Tennessee are building a steam-powered streamliner vehicle.
Cyclone Power Technologies today announced it is working to "complete installation of the engine, gearbox, and fiberglass body" of the Cyclone-Williams LSR streamliner--a steam-powered car that could set a new land speed record.
A few months ago we saw the debut of the Land Rover Evoque at the Paris Motor Show. This vehicle offered the luxury and off-road capability we've come to expect from Land Rover, but its two door-styling seemed too small for the U.S.
Land Rover knows its business, bringing out a slightly larger version of the Evoque at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Where getting into the rear seat of the two-door Evoque looked like a challenge, this new Evoque offers much more access with four doors and a hatchback.
Both versions of the Evoque get a new … Read more